A California man accused of slaughtering and dismembering someone else’s beloved family pet for food faces three felony charges.
Jeffrey Cody Miller, 32, pleaded not guilty in Humboldt County court Tuesday to animal cruelty, grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon for the butchering of Princess, a pet pig that got loose in her Northern California neighborhood in March, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.
Miller is being held in custody without bail after being arrested last week for unrelated misdemeanor drug possession and probation violations from a prior conviction.
A second man, Ed Jessie Ramos, faces the same charges as Miller in Princess’ death. Ramos, who remains at large, has been ordered to appear in court in June, per the Lost Coast Outpost.
Princess, a nearly 400-pound pet pig, went missing in late March from her home. The friendly, year-old pet was later spotted wandering the neighborhood. Arcata Police Department arrived on the scene and they asked a resident and Miller — who according to the Mad River Union does not have a permanent address and just happened to be at the home at the time — if Princess could be kept in the homeowner’s yard while they tracked down her owners. It was a request that was not out of ordinary in this particular community, where residents typically have a few acres of land and own livestock, Arcata police Lt. Todd Dokweiler noted to HuffPost at the time.
After police quickly located the pig’s owner and returned to the neighbor’s property to take Princess home, they were horrified to find that Miller was in the process of butchering the pet for meat in the homeowner’s driveway. Miller was deep into the butchering process and Princess’ carcass was being divided into about 30 “Seal A Meal” bags, the Union reports.
Dokweiler told HuffPost in March that Miller took it upon himself to kill the pet without the homeowner’s knowledge.
Arcata police officer Charles Anderson, who spoke to Miller on the day of the incident, told the Union in April that Miller had identified himself as a pig rancher when Anderson asked if Princess could stay in the homeowner’s yard.
“He said he had experience with livestock,” Anderson told the local news outlet. “If Miller hadn’t been there, things wouldn’t have gone the way they did.”
Carrie Hogan, Princess’ owner, reportedly did not witness the gruesome scene but was devastated by what happened to her pet. Hogan told the Outpost that Princess, who turned one in January, had been her family’s pet since she was a piglet. Hogan said she occasionally bottle-fed Princess in her living room. And Hogan’s daughter even showed Princess, who reportedly had the temperament of a dog, at a state fair.